tabitha from joy zipper
creators of a fine album that has yet to hit the shops after nearly 18 months of problems ireallylovemusic gets an update on the joy zipper story ..
joy zipper - an interesting combination of sonic ideas. (sweet bubblegum pop melodies meets my bloody valentine layers of noise) tell us how you came about your sound ? seems to be at odds with rest of guitar based music from usa. tis a very simple/classic sound that appeals to long lost innocent days
vinny and i have always gravitated towards music from the 60's and 70's so when we started doing this together there was just a natural sound that developed reminiscent of that time. our voices blend really well together so when we would double each other singing or do harmonies, the sound of that just led us down this path. the my bloody valentine thing comes from modernizing it a little. it was never intentional. having met and spent some time with kevin shields, i think we just come from very similar feelings about music.
what is the power base in the band ? for example is it "words = tabitha, >music = vinny ?". how to decide who sings what ?
it's what ever happens at the time. vinny is the main writer of music and lyrics but i'm surfacing. sometimes vinny will have a part and then i'll sing/write a melody over it with his words ie: christine bonilla. other times he or i will start writing a song and then we'll collaborate. we decide who sings the song based on what sounds more appropriate. i ususally sing the songs i write but it looks like that's gonna change, vinny is now singing one of my new ones. it works.
are there moments of friction (as a married man of 13 years i know all about relationship friction) where the priorites of "household chores vs the desire to find the ultimate chord sequence" get in the way, or, does this create a better environment to get the creative juices running ?
yes, of course there are moments. vinny and are are very different and that can be good and bad. we've been together for 12 years and i think the thing that makes it work is that we are always making sure we keep and allow our individuality. it's something that always needs to be kept in check though. the tough times are when we are alone together writing/recording for too long. we go weeks without seeing anyone else...anyone can go crazy in that situation but it also can really add to the depth of the music that's produced.
uk press seems to be universally in praise of your music .. was this a surprise, or do you have a firm self belief a la oasis and therefore expected this kind of attention ?
we've definitely had a lot of press but that doesn't really affect us. we've had so many set backs on the business side of things that if we didn't have a firm self belief we probably would have stopped doing it. actually,we never would have stopped, just maybe did it for only ourselves. everything we do is honest and i think that's what the press likes about us.
how has usa music media been with the joy zipper sounds ? or are you focussing on uk and then using that as a springboard into the usa market ?
our first album came out in the u.s. after it came out in the uk. the label that put it out was tiny and didn't have a press budget so there wasn't much. they did have a budget for college radio promotion and that went really well. we did great on the cmj charts but radio is short lived. i get emails all the time from people in the u.s. asking what we're doing etc. we've definitley had a mysterious career. i've had a few people at shows tell me j.z. is like a secret....
how did you get connected to 13 amp/david holmes ?
our first album came out on a label called eye q. the head of that label, dean o'connor is best friends with david. when the label fell, right after our release, dean and david decided to start a new one, 13 amp. since before or first one came out david has been a huge support. whenever he dj-ed he'd play our music. he's always inspiring us with different music.
as you know i found american whip through alternative routes. how do you feel that fans are having to resort to these methods to hear your sounds ?
i think it's ridiculous. it just needs to be put out. it does feel good that people are spending a lot of money on it on ebay. i saw one go recently for 40 pounds!
so how did you find 2003 given all the well publicised issues with labels etc ? how did you manage with the day to day aspect of things ?
at first it was really hard because we were all set for ameircan whip to come out last january. we were literally told christmas week that it wasn't. not only was it not coming out but our label was splitting from their backers ministry of sound so we were basically going to be without a label too. m.o.s. still wanted to release it under one of their other labels but we decided to stick with 13 amp and see where it went. luckily mercury came along and picked us and our label up. we were never really worried about it just frustrated. as far as the day to day went, we just moved onto thinking about how we were going to put our live band together. we also had to record b-sides and did some touring here and there. there were some family issues that came up too that took our minds off of it. my father killed himself in feb.
i would like to assume that in 2004 you will get american whip released . and therefore have to gig to promote the songs. how do you keep the songs fresh after all this time ?
that's a good question. well it's now been so long that they're fresh again. we've mostly been playing the songs from our mini album 'the stereo and god' live. vinny hasn't sung christmas song in months.
do you have a band ready to roll to flesh out the songs live ? or do you perform as a duo ? (not yet had the chance etc)
yes, the last tour we did there were five of us. the guys are all amazing but only one of them is a professional musician so i'm not sure if the other two guys can leave their real jobs again. fingers crossed because we had such a great time and we all really locked in. it was our favorite group of shows yet. performing as a duo would make the logistics a lot easier but we haven't figured out a way to do it right yet. the white stripes were smart.
i hear that the final released version of the album will differ from the original version. have these details been finalised ? if so, care to let me in on the extras/differences ?
the original plan was to remix some of the tracks but after trying we realized that we really loved it the way it was. at one point i even got an email from dean wareham from luna warning us not to do anything to it. it's now only marginally different. the main difference is alzheimers. there is dialogue in promo version of the song that won't be in the released version. vinny wrote alzheimers a long time ago. he was watching a documentary in the middle of the night about the disease, he held his hand held tape recorder up to the tv and recorded some of the scenes. he then immediately started writing a song about it, recorded the song that night on a 4 track (that's all we had back then). we lived with the song for years that way and then when we decided to re record it for american whip we bought the video of the film and did it properly. just as we were mixing the song we sought out the director for approval. the subject in the film was her mother and ironically the mother had just died that week. i think if it was any other time she would have approved it. she's obviously an artist too and knew that we weren't making fun. it was just a rough time for her. she did eventually approve a particular section. it's actually my favorite section of dialogue so i'm happy. it all worked out. we also remastered the album so there's a slight difference in that. vinny is probably happier with the original master but there are bits about the new one that sound better. plus there are a few secret things...see if you can figure it out.
you have hinted on the bands message board that you are not overly enamoured about new sounds .. so tell us, what gets spun on the home stereo on a regular basis ? and do you both agree on what gets played ?
we think there's a lot of great new music it's just that none of it get's the exposure it deserves. you really have to look for it. right now we're listening to a mixed cd we burned off of limewire...nostalgic stuff like the pinball song from sesame street, suicide is painless w/vocals, air supply(lost in love)-sorry about that but it's true...it'a a great song, bee gees(saturday night fever)...we just got dsl so it's like christmas! we're also listening to an obscure psychedelic country compliation cd that david holmes made for us..yeah, i guess it's all old stuff. like the outcast song 'hey ya' and kellis 'milkshake'.
whats on the horizon post american whip then ? new set of songs ready to go ?
yep, at this very moment we are in preproduction for our next lp. we rented a house in the woods for the next two months to write and record demos. it just snowed last night so we're enveloped in white. uh oh, another long period of solitude...hope we make it through.